Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The potential for collisions on airport runways and taxiways increases as airports become busier. To combat the impact of this trend, the FAA deployed a runway safety tool called Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model-X (ASDE-X).

ASDE-X enables air traffic controllers to detect potential runway conflicts by providing detailed coverage of movement on runways and taxiways. ASDE-X collects data from a variety of sources to track vehicles and aircraft on the airport movement area and obtain identification information from aircraft transponders.

The ASDE-X data comes from surface movement radar located on the air traffic control tower or remote tower, multilateration sensors, ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) sensors, the terminal automation system, and aircraft transponders. By fusing the data from these sources, ASDE-X is able to determine the position and identification of aircraft and transponder-equipped vehicles on the airport movement area, as well as aircraft flying within five miles of the airport.

Controllers in the tower see this information presented as a color display of aircraft and vehicle positions overlaid on a map of the airport’s runways, taxiways and approach corridors. The system creates a continuously updated map of the airport movement area that controllers can use to spot potential collisions. This technology is especially helpful to controllers at night or in bad weather when visibility is poor.

ASDE-X Safety Logic (AXSL) is an enhancement to the situational awareness provided to air traffic controllers by ASDE-X. AXSL uses surveillance information from ASDE-X to determine if the current or projected positions and movements of aircraft or vehicles that are being tracked present a potential collision situation. Visual and audible alerts are provided to the controllers that include critical information about the targets, such as aircraft identification and where aircraft and vehicles are on the surface.

The first use ASDE-X was at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wis. in October 2003. All ASDE-X systems were deployed by the end of 2010 – one year earlier than originally anticipated.

The 35 major airports with ASDE-X include:

  • Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Bradley International Airport (BDL)
  • Chicago Midway Airport (MDW)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood Airport (FLL)
  • General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • John Wayne — Orange County Airport (SNA)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Lambert St. Louis International Airport (STL)
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Louisville International Airport-Standiford Field (SDF)
  • Memphis International Airport (MEM)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Newark International Airport (EWK)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)